Eric Lange Interview: ‘Escape at Dannemora’
“That was just a lot of physical fun that you don’t normally have the opportunity to do,” Eric Lange reveals about gaining and losing 37 pounds while shooting “Escape at Dannemora” to play his character at different points in his life. The actor makes sure to add in his exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above), “In terms of your health, it’s a horrible idea and I’m not recommending it to anyone.” Lange portrays Lyle Mitchell, the real-life husband of Patricia Arquette‘s character Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell, who is currently serving time in connection with the 2015 jailbreak upon which the Ben Stiller-directed miniseries for Showtime is based. Lange recounts that after being cast without any expectation of gaining weight, “Ben suggested it because I was pretty lean when we started.” The initial plan was 10 to 15 pounds extra for the 2015-set episodes, but Lange says, “I did that relatively quickly and that didn’t really look like much on me,” so he continued.
The performance earned a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Movie/Limited Supporting Actor, a high-water mark after 80-plus credits on IMDb. He reflects, “I’ve been in L.A. for 24 years. I’ve been working a very, very long time here thankfully, but most of the stuff I’ve done doesn’t get Emmy recognition or Golden Globe recognition necessarily. It’s just work and you continue your path in that way and I knew this was an opportunity to be in something that might be a little more visible.”
Lange recalls that Stiller would tell him, “Don’t worry about looking at yourself from the outside; I’ve got you,” noting this as illustrative of the “finely-tuned” directing that would harness awards-worthy performances from the cast. Lange speaks about calibrating his part specifically, “There was always a danger — a fear of mine — of turning Lyle into a caricature. It’s a very fine line with a guy like that who’s got an eccentric speech pattern, an eccentric look, a childlike view of the world sometimes. It can run off the rails real quick and my trust and my faith from the beginning that that wouldn’t happen was because of Ben, because I just really trust his eye.”